On June 11, 2000, the unthinkable happened. Yes, this is pro wrestling and grapplers change their gimmicks and allegiances more often
than their fighting trunks, but it's no stretch to say that the entire crowd--as a matter of fact-- the entire wrestling world, didn't
expect Goldberg to really turn heel!
The Oklahoma native was not only one of the federation's true superstars, he was also one of their true good guys. What could've happened?
What made this babyface turn villain?
Well, according to Goldberg in an interview he did in the September 2000 issue of WCW magazine, he was frustrated with the way things were
going in his career and felt he needed some kind of change. " I got sick and tired of it all," he said, "and I came back with a new attitude.
Hell hath no fury anymore."
He sure did come back with a new attitude! The Tulsa Tornado swept through the Baltimore Civic Center on that June night at The Great American
Bash and took his frustrations out on poor, unsuspecting Kevin Nash. Upon his return to action a few weeks earlier from a career-threatening
arm injury that had kept him out of action for several months. Goldberg had been bonding with Nash.
The heel-turning event occurred when Big Sexy was involved in a World Championship title match with "The Chosen One" Jeff Jarrett. After Nash
had jackknife-powerbombed Jarrett for the second time, the Goldberg monster truck plowed into the arena.
The bald-headed grappler exited hisvehicle and made his way toward the ring and the other two superstars. Then, without warning, he climbed through
the ropes and crouched, readying himself for the Spear.
The stunned crowd definitely thought that Goldberg was going to take out Double J, but in heel-like manner, he took out Nash.
After nailing Nash, he tells Jarrett to make the cover and, on cue, Jarrett gets the pin and win to retain his title. After referee Mickey Jay
counted Nash out, Goldberg stood in center ring and stared down on the fallen Nash. Then, to make matters worse and even more interesting, Eric
Bischoff and Vince Russo climbed out of Goldberg's truck and walked to the squared circle. They gigerly approached their new heel, and after a tense
moment, the 3 embraced, solidifying Goldberg as an official member of the WCW's New Blood.
If you thought the embrace and Goldberg's turning heel to be shocking, what about the crowd's reaction to this crazy turn of events? In unbelievable
fashion, the arena erupted into loud chants of Goldberg sucks! Goldberg sucks!
But, the personality change wouldn't last too long for the ex-pro football player. The combination of timing of having Goldberg turn bad and his not
liking his new role led the WCW to rethink their actions and allow Goldberg to resurface as hos old self a few weeks later. ,br>
"It was hard for me because here I was making speeches to these kids and doing the things I do with charities during the day and then at night I was
running those same kind of people down in the ring," Goldberg explained. "Yeah, it's just a character, but for those kids it's hard to understand."
Spoken like a true good guy that he is. Even though WCW was looking for an angle that would help propel them back up in the ratings war with the WWF, having
their biggest star/good guy turn evil int he prime of his career just defied wrestling logic.
Yes, history shows that wrestlers have been able to make the transition from good guy to bad guy and not lose an ounce of popularity, but that usually occurred
when the star's act was growing old, and he neede a change. Hilk Hogan, Andre The Giant, Brett Hart, and even Vince McMahon all have done it. But they all did
it when their character's stories had run their course. Their turns from faces to heels were shocking enough to get the push they were looking for.
Goldberg's stature in the federation as a face surely outweighed that of him playin the part of a heel. His drawing power was still on the upside as a babyface
and the crowd's reaction that summer night was definitely an indicator of how they wanted their hero to act in the ring.
The fans had had a long wait for his return from his arm injury and wanted to see nothing more than Goldberg of old. They wanted back the rugged grappler who
came onto the wrestling scene in 1997 and ran a 173-0 record before losing to Kevin Nash in a contoversial match that saw Scott Hall interfere so his friend
could defeat the newcomer.
But despite his success and fan support, Goldberg will be the first to admit that wrestling was not his first career choice growing up. Actuall, it wasn't even an
option. "I never consisidered wrestling to be an option because I though it was silly," he said. " There was no way I was going to go out in front of millions of people
wearing my underwear."
Instead. the 6'3", 285-pound behemoth concentrated on becoming a pro football player. He wanted nothing more than to follow in the footsteps of his boyhood idol
John Matuszak, the late, great defensive lineman for the Oakland Radiers. He parlayed a good high school career into an excellant college one playing noseguard at the
University of Georgia and won All-SEC honors.
His next step was the National Football League and his boyhood dream woulds come true when the Los Angelas Rams picked him in the 11th round of the 1990 NFL Draft.
His time with the rams would not only be important to his football career, but it would also open up a whole new world for him-- the world of professional wrestling. He
experienced this through his teammate and roomate, kevin Greene, who was a huge graplling fan. ,br>
When Goldberg's football career didn't pan out, he turned to the form of entertainment that was clsosest to the gridiron sport--pro wrestling. He got the bug in his head
to pursue a grappling career when, by chance, he ran into Diamon Dallas Page in a club one night and then, on another occasion, ran into Sting and Lex Luger, who all
suggested he give wrestling a try.
After convincing the-powers-that-be that he had what it took to compete night in and night out between the ropes, he enlisted himself in the Power Plant, a wrestling
training center for all WCW hopefulls. After 6 months of grueling training, he was ready for action.
Goldberg made his pro wrestling debut in September 1997 against a veteran midcarder named Hugh Morrus. Before the bell could even stop ringing to strt the match, the former
NFLer would have his opponent beat. Though Morrus wasonly a midcarder, this was still impressive as Goldberg took out his foe like he was the seasoned vet in the ring. All
WCWers should have taken note of this accomplishment, as it was a sign of things to come. The lean, mean, wrecking machine was ready to take on any and all comers who wanted
a piece of him.
This was the beginning of not only a successful match run, it was also the beginning of a title run for the rookie grappler. After only being in the federation for 7 months,
Goldberg would win his first title the U.S. Heavyweight belt, on April 20, 1998, against Raven in an anything-goes match.
Although this was impressive for the first-year pro, better things and titles awaited him. 3 Months later in Atlanta, Georgia, he would defeat the legendary Hulk Hogan to win
his first World Heavyweight title.
From here on out he earned the respect of not only his fellow wrestlers, but more important, the fans, who still adore their hero to this day!
click here for some history on your favorite wreslters, Choose your poison: